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A Time For Mission
The Challenge for Global Christianity
by Samuel Escobar
Publisher:IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
‘The truth of the gospel that gives life meaning is always a word we have received. We do not have it when we come to this world; it is a word someone else passes on to us.’
So writes Samuel Escobar in the opening sentence to the preface of this re-issued edition of his book first published in 2003. It is both an obvious and dramatic statement that those of us who grew up in a Christian home can all too easily forget. Our faith – however early imparted in our lives – remains a gift transmitted through another.
However, Escobar’s very next sentence is more challenging. 'And once we have received it we are bound to share it.' So distant are many established churchgoers from that moment in their lives when the gospel was revealed to them, this assertion of evangelical fervour cannot be assured. And it is this that lies at the heart of the missionary challenge through much of the developed west.
A Time for Mission is in part historical review, part theological reflection and part inspirational encouragement. Its central aim is to deepen our understanding of ‘how mission works’ and Escobar’s contribution to this endeavour – which in itself is well-trodden ground of course - is rooted in personal experience as well as mature, scriptural insights.
As Escobar himself acknowledges in his closing chapter, this search for missional understanding remains ongoing. The contextual complexity and changing nature of our missionary fields makes that inevitable. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is up to the task; prayerfully, may we remain so.
Reviewer: David Ford (16/01/12)